Tuesday, April 23, 2024


Enjoy a St. Paddy’s Day Beer with Your Dog

March 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Dog Activities and Training

Many people give beer to their dogs.  I’m not sure if it makes the dog into a good dancer, but mostly I think people just want their dogs to be able to enjoy a brewski with the family.  But real beer just isn’t all that great for dogs, so how can you allow your dog to join in the St. Paddy’s day festivities without putting the dog’s health at risk?

What’s wrong with real beer for dogs?

The major problem with commercially-made or even homemade beer, is the hops.  When a dog ingests hops, he or she may develop malignant hyperthermia,  which can be fatal.  Malignant hyperthermia causes an extremely high temperature and brutal muscle contractions.  For some reason, Greyhounds seem to be particularly susceptible to this disease, which is seen far more commonly in pigs than in dogs (when they haven’t been exposed to hops).

The dog will begin to pant heavily, and you may notice a rapid heartbeat as high as 200 beats per minute.  The dog’s temperature can rise as much as two degrees every minute.  This is a true veterinary emergency, and you should immediately take your dog to an emergency vet.

The emergency vet will likely pump the dog’s stomach, put him or her in a cool bath, and hydrate with intravenous fluids.  Dantrolene sodium is the only known treatment medication, but it is very expensive and can be hard to find in an emergency.  In most cases, the dog dies before the drug can be given.

Commercially-made dog beer

The king of dog beers is undoubtedly Bowser Beer, which pretty much pioneered the field.  Their claim to fame, other than being first, is that their dog beer doesn’t contain commercial meat broth which might contain salt, fat, MSG, and onions, all of which can be toxic to dogs.  Bowser Beer also makes treats to go with their varied flavors of beer, and offers custom labels featuring your dog’s face.  On the custom label you can even choose a brew name, such as Blue Dane Ale or I Don’t Give a Shitzu Brew.

Bowser Beer, made by an Arizona company called The 3 Busy Dogs, is available at dog boutiques and bakeries nationwide.

There is also a brand known simply as Dog Beer which is available only online if you don’t happen to live in New South Wales.

Both brands emphasize that they are non-carbonated and non-alcoholic.

Homemade brew

Making dog beer at home is much easier than you might think because you don’t need to let dog beer sit and ferment like you would human beer.  The thing that makes dog beer similar to beer is the malt barley, which incidentally is high in B-vitamins.  If you’re big into organics, you can buy barley and malt it yourself, following these DIY instructions.  Otherwise, you can purchase a barley malt extract in syrup or powder form from your local brewing supply store or online at sites such as Homebrew Heaven.

In human beer, about 90% of the recipe is water, and you could do that for your dog’s beer, too.  However, most dogs will prefer having stock as the liquid ingredient.  You can save the flavored water left behind after you boil some chicken, ribs, or beef bones, as long as you don’t add any herbs or spices while you’re cooking.  If desired, you can strain out the small pieces of meat left behind, but your dog would probably prefer it if you left them in.  If you want to buy commercial stock, look for low sodium varieties, and check the ingredient label to make sure there’s not a ton of MSG, onions, or garlic.

Pour your stock into a saucepan or stock pot, depending on how much you are making.  I’d recommend starting with a small quantity to try out your process, as well as to see if your dog likes the brew.  Add 5 tablespoons of malted barley for each quart of stock.  Stir while heating to boiling.  Make sure the barley powder is fully dissolved or the barley syrup is mixed well with the stock.   Cool the mixture to room temperature.

At this point, if you want to, you can add other vitamins and supplements like glucosamine or fish oil, even your dog’s medications.  Just make sure the mixture is at room temperature before you add anything, as heat can inactivate some medications.

If you’re making this beer specifically for your St. Patrick’s day celebration, add some green food coloring for that extra-festive touch.

Pour the mixture into bottles or a pitcher, depending on how much like a beer your dog will want his beverage to look.  You can make labels reflecting your brew’s inspiration or dog’s name if you’re feeling creative.  Refrigerate until served, either alone or poured over your dog’s food as gravy.  Alternatively, you can freeze the beer into beer-cubes for a special treat on extra hot days.

Approved by 3 out of 4 dogs!


One Response to “Enjoy a St. Paddy’s Day Beer with Your Dog”


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] holiday.  You just need to give him his own beer.  And, according to The Straight Poop, there are now a couple of choices in Dog Beer.  And The Straight Poop even tells you how to brew your own dog beer, if you’re so […]

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!